College Life with Emily Burr

Written by Marie Kane |
Photos by Emily Burr

Emily Burr graduated from Morgan this year with the Class of 2017 and is now at the University of Hawaii at Manoa as an English major. She takes English, Acting, Geology, Hawaiian Language, and Hawaiian Studies. “I LOVE it here. The scenery is absolutely beautiful, and everyone tends to be so incredibly nice.”

“They tell you not to pick a University 100 percent based on location. That’s exactly what I did though. I felt I had the courage and drive to go to school in a tropical paradise. Why wouldn’t I?”

She explained how Hawaiian and Pacific Island culture is everywhere, but she assumed that it would not be like that- especially in Honolulu- since Hawaii is a state:  “Hawaiian language is everywhere. It’s on street signs, people’s shirts, you name it.” Emily is glad to be taking a Hawaiian language class. She believes it is easier to learn the language when you love it, and you’re so immersed in it.

Emily feels that it is honestly so weird that she is a college student. She shared that sometimes older friends of hers tell her that they forget that she is in college too. She tells them that she even forgets it sometimes: “I remember being younger and looking at college students like they were mature adults who had their life together. I still feel like I’m just running around bumping into things and hoping for the best. It’s a really big change.”

Before she got there, she was all excited, partly nervous: “Now that I’m here, it’s still excitement because I love it so much, but it’s also work. It can be stressful. It’s just about balancing the stress with the fun. It’s a science, honestly.”

College is going great for Emily. “It’s pretty much how you would expect. I go to my classes. I maintain my grades. I hang out with my friends, and I vlog exploring the island of O’ahu. It’s pretty magical.”

Emily began vlogging on the day of her last final in her senior year. She always loved making videos and watching other people’s YouTube videos. “I figured that since my life was about to get pretty interesting with me moving and whatnot, I’d try my hand at vlogging.” She watched a lot of other YouTubers who did it, and it seemed fun to her. “I fell in love with it right away.” Although it is hard for Emily to vlog weekly, she always makes the time. “I have people that watch me each week and look forward to me posting. I make time for them and because I love doing it.” Emily is building a little group of people that watch her, and she cares about these people very much. “If I can be their way to forget what’s stressing them out for ten minutes each week. I take that responsibility really seriously.”

At first, she had a bad roommate, but she switched a few weeks later. Her new roommate is now one of her best friends. She explained that her new roommate instantly took her into her friend group when she moved in and that they became a lot like the TV show, Friends. “We’re always around each other in some way, shape, or form. We all live in the same building, so it’s super easy to go visit each other.” Emily has other close friends that do not live in her building, but they live in the dorms so it’s less than a minute of a walk away from her. “Living on campus makes your social life in college about twenty times easier.”

Emily’s favorite part of being in college is the beaches and her friends, but she does not enjoy having to take the public bus or paying for an Uber to get somewhere. She misses being able to drive herself places and sometimes hates going to class.

A funny thing about college for Emily is that there are  “Lots of chickens. In fact, chickens overpopulate all of the Hawaiian islands, but it seems like my campus is a home base for them on O’ahu.” Emily said that she must see at least ten chickens every day. “It’s really cool when they’re not doing their loud, rooster thing at 6:30 in the morning. I also never thought I would actually watch a chicken cross the road. In case anyone’s wondering, I’ve watched them after crossing, and I still don’t know why they do it.”

She said that it’s not the first week that’s the hardest because you’re still in the high that you’re in college, and that high does not go away until week three: “Week three is the hardest. That’s when it hits you that you’re in college. You’re alone, and you have to figure everything out by yourself. ” She went on to say that no one warned her about that. “It hit me so hard I almost came home. I didn’t though, and I couldn’t be more proud of that.”

Although high school was great for Emily, she chose college over that because there is so much more freedom and time that comes with college. “You can make your own decisions about what you do and how you spend your time. ” On Tuesdays and Thursdays, she only has two two one hour and a half hour classes. Then, she has the whole rest of the day to relax and do homework. “Having so much extra time is a game-changer.”

What Emily misses the most about high school is the people. “The teachers. My friends. Everyone that’s thousands of miles away from me now.” If Emily could do high school over, she would go back and make herself less shy her freshman year. “I feel like I didn’t start to enjoy high school to its full potential until I was completely out of my shell.”

Speaking of having to decide on a favorite teacher, Emily’s response was “I have to choose? Oh my gosh, I love all of them,” showing her love for the Morgan staff. She said that all of her English teachers were really awesome at helping her to be prepared as an English major there at her college. “Mrs. Mularski’s also amazing, and I credit a lot of the great photography I do on the island to her.” Emily loves doing water photography on the islands. She has stayed most in touch with Mr. Motter and Mr. Bergman. “I love them. They really just can’t get rid of me.” She gave a shoutout to Mr. Bergman, saying, “If you’re reading this, I miss you. Respond to my email when you get a chance. You’re the best.”

Mr. Motter said that in a word, having Emily as a student was great. He had her when she was a junior in the law course and also had her when she was a senior in the philosophy course. Describing Emily, Mr. Motter said, it was a word he doesn’t often use in daily conversation: “That word is delightful.” Mr. Motter said that in general, she has a great sense of humor, and it was infectious in the classroom. “Her sense of fun is almost off the charts. She’s also highly intelligent.” Mr. Motter added, “Do people in Hawaii know how lucky they are to have her?”

Emily did not play on any sports teams throughout her time at Morgan but did call herself “the face of athleticism” and “unathletic as hell”.  She was nominated for class sweetheart in senior superlatives but didn’t win. “I’m still baffled. I mean, come on. I’m an angel (not to mention humble).”

Part of the advice she gave to current Morgan students who are planning on going to college was to save as much money as they can. “You’d be surprised how quickly the green stuff goes.” She said that if you want to go to college far away, take that leap. “So many people tried to stop me. So many people told me that I couldn’t do it. I didn’t listen to them though, and I couldn’t be happier about where I am right now.” Some inspiring words that go along with her advice were, “If you have faith in yourself, don’t let anyone diminish it. You’re the only one that really knows what you can handle.”

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